Steven Partridge: Police issue urgent appeal for man wanted in connection with sexual assault of girl, 9, in Southend

Members of the public have been warned not to approach Steven Partridge if they see him but to call 999

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Police are urgently trying to trace a man wanted for questioning in connection with a sexual assault on a nine-year-old girl in an alleyway.

Steven Partridge, 22, is being sought by police investigating the incident in Southend, Essex, earlier this week.

Members of the public have been warned not to approach Mr Partridge if they see him but to call 999.

Detective Chief Superintendent Tracy Hawkings, head of public protection at Essex Police, said the girl was found by a member of the public who called the police.

Det Chf Supt Hawkings said: “She is being cared for by specially trained police officers.

"She has suffered a sexual assault and we are doing everything we can to look after her following this traumatic ordeal."

The incident happened at about 5pm on Monday in an alleyway in the town.

Police say Mr Partridge had been living at an address in York Road, Southend, but is also known to have lived in the Folkestone and Hackney areas.

He is also known by the surnames of Keys, Keyes, Budden and Young.

He is white, 6ft, of slim build, with blue eyes. He has short straight fair hair and has a tattoo on his left wrist which says "Mum" and one on his right arm which says "Steven".

Anybody with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact Essex Police on 01245 282103 as soon as possible.

Additional reporting by Press Association